Latvia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and Transport Ministry should come up with stricter potential restrictions for travel from red list countries to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, said Healthcare Minister Ilze Viņķele.
The red list includes EU and other countries in which the cumulative indexes is infection over 25 per 100 000 residents, according to information from the State Disease Monitoring and Prevention Centre. The red list includes countries like Russia and Belarus.
Viņķele explained that questions regarding restrictions for representatives of those countries are not in the Healthcare Ministry’s competence. The instead proposed turning to the foreign affairs minister Edgars Rinkēvičs and transport minister Tālis Linkaits. Politicians also pointed to the role of the Interior Affairs Ministry in ensuring control.
As for the countries from the red list, restrictions may be applied to visas and residents permits, said the politician.
Rinkēvičs promises to establish that travellers from outside the EU should have their residence permits or visas annulled if they breach the required 14-day self-isolation period.
According to the minister, entrants from third countries should be asked the provide confirmation regarding compliance with epidemiological rule. In the event of breaching the 14-day self-isolation period, he believes, a fine should be used.
The minister also believe Latvia should declare a moratorium on residence permit registration or extension until COVID-19 infection rates in third countries reach safe levels – 16 per 100 000 residents in two weeks.
Rinkēvičs believes these proposals are balanced. He intends to convince other ministers to discuss them at the next government meeting on 14 July.
Healthcare Ministry will not plan any new restrictions, because no new outbreaks of the disease have been found so far.
As for last week’s outbreaks, the government has already decided on reinstating certain restrictions, said Viņķele.
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